Solving a Marketing Mystery

Blue Lake Christmas Mystery is on sale this month! 99 cents on Kindle started yesterday, Nook and iPhone also 99 cents starting today. I don’t know about other writers, but I’ve never earned a penny from Nook or from iPhone. My publisher makes my books available on all the eBook sites; it’s a mystery why only Amazon sells.

I decided to do this book promotion on my own with no help from my usual tech smart people. I got excited about the idea that I could just do something low key and not make it a huge thing. Something easy. Not too stressful. The mystery is why I don’t approach marketing that way all the time.

Instead I get visions of my landing page wallpaper featuring falling snow as a backdrop to a great tagline and beautiful book cover. That swirling snow looks so pretty, but I’d need to hire someone to do that. And also, I would usually start thinking about trying to place a BookBub ad to get more sales. If you’ve never done BB ads, let me just say it is stressful and can also be expensive.

What I want more of this holiday season is less stress. I cannot stress this enough. ūüôā Also I love reading Christmas novels. I don’t think I’m the only one…so I figured why not be nice and lower my price? I can’t be the only reader who loves a 99 cent deal.

So here’s a fact lots of people don’t know. As you get older, you will like to get into the Christmas mood earlier. This year, for the first time, I read my first (of many, I am sure) Christmas novel before Halloween. I used to be one of those people who thought it was best to wait until after Thanksgiving to make a peep about Christmas. But that’s when I was younger. Now I’m older, time moves faster, so I need more of it to finish up all the Christmas and holiday themed books and films I’ve bought or recorded.

I don’t actually know if all older people feel the way I do about getting started on the holidays earlier, but I do know that retail outlets have no problem beginning marketing earlier (it seems) every year. So I figured I could do the same. Easy research.

The other bit of easy marketing research comes from personal experience. I am so busy in December. Too busy to read as much as I’d like. I tend to stack Christmas novels in a TBR pile, and rather than look for a new book, I just pick from my handy book stack. Or, I’ll watch a holiday movie I recorded in November.

So this is my no-stress, commonsense, low key marketing plan for my Christmas novel. One other happy little coincidence (well happy for me, not for Katie Hill and other victims of revenge porn) that I didn’t have to lift a finger for is that even though my novel was published two years ago, revenge porn is a current hot topic, so my first tagline practically wrote itself.

While writing Blue Lake Christmas Mystery, I thought about all the ways it could be awful if someone you trusted and loved posted a video or nude photos of you online. Might you be so upset you’d kill him? Indeed, is that the reason a perfectly nice fictional guy was murdered at a Christmas party in my book? Because he wasn’t, underneath it all, quite so nice?

A Dangerous Holiday & An Excellent Film

IMG_4893

I love holiday novels. I’ve read several already and am waiting for the “Dangerous Holiday” box set with six Christmas novels, including my Blue Lake Christmas Mystery, which I still love. The box set also includes romantic suspense holiday novels written by some of my fellow Wild Rose Press authors. I am looking forward to reading those! The price is so good, too. $3.99 for six novels. It’s up for pre-sale at Amazon now and will be available on November 8. I have been waiting patiently.

I1000662_671145639691748_3695067060258692717_nn other news I’m writing like a madwoman for NaNoWriMo. So far, I’m meeting my daily word count, even with a day off yesterday for a date with my husband. We went out to dinner and then saw Bohemian Rhapsody¬†with Rami Malek. We were both intrigued by Malek from his television series, Mr. Robot. The guy’s acting is compelling, so when we heard he was playing Freddy Mercury we just had to see it. I did not know Freddy was from Zanzibar, but I did know Rami is of Egyptian descent. That signified to me that he would nail it. With a set of false teeth for Freddy’s overbite, he was perfect. ¬†P. S. It was a really great date.

Goodreads Holiday Giveaway & More

 

 I love reading Christmas novels so much I wrote one of my own last year. This year, beginning November 8, for a limited time, I’ll be giving away 10 signed print copies of my 2016 novella Blue Lake Christmas Mystery on Goodreads. If you love reading on your Kindle like I do, Amazon has Blue Lake Christmas Mystery on special for 99 cents beginning Friday, November 3 and continuing for two weeks.
While I can only do a 99 cent sale on the Kindle titles my publisher owns. The Wild Rose Press is in charge of that. But for Goodreads, it’s very easy to do these giveaways, for me and for you. Goodreads does all the work. They list the title in their giveaway section and choose ten random winners. Then they send me the names and addresses and I ship the books to the ten winners.
Not on Goodreads? It’s easy to join, through Facebook or just by going to the site. I’m an avid reader, so I love visiting Goodreads. I have an author page¬†there, too, but I use Goodreads more to see what others are saying about a book I just read or am thinking of reading. It’s like an always available book group!

The Character Who Never Leaves

blueheaven175

I should have known from the minute she elbowed her way into Blue Heaven, acting like she owned the joint, that Lily would be trouble. She was 17 and secretive, a minor character who thought she should have a bigger part. I gave her a love interest, but it turned out she had issues with boys.

I thought I ended Lily’s story at the end of that first book in my Blue Lake series. She was safely away at college in book two, but came barreling back with vengeance on her mind in book three. I had a hard time deciding which of my two female characters would take the lead. I hadn’t meant it to be Lily, but damn that messed up woman was fun to write.

unnamed-1

By the fourth book, even though she left town, her name and her story stole a few scenes. I’d promised her her own book–I even tried to write it–but it was so dark I had to take a mental health break and write a light fun Christmas story. I thought about dumping the Lily chapters I’d started before my most recent release, but my critique group, who have more influence on me than I’d like to admit, would not hear of it.

I’d set myself a challenge with Lily’s story and I needed to see it through. It’s about done now, well at least a workable draft is almost there. But I keep thinking about where and how I want Lily to end up. I want to do right by her. I want to give her the peace she’s been seeking for so long. So I’m taking my time with the denouement. Not that it will be a lot of pages, but it will be the right way to leave this woman, now in ¬†her mid-30s, who I’ve been following for most of her adult life.

It might seem strange to say I’m following a character I created. But that’s what I do. I know some writers would roll their eyes at that. Who’s writing the story, anyway? Well, here’s the truth: it’s me and then it’s not me. It’s a part of myself I only access when I’m writing. It’s where my imagination goes when I get quiet inside and try to keep up with characters like Lily.

Christmas Wishes

Today is the worldwide release of my latest novel for The Wild Rose Press, Blue Lake Christmas Mystery. Writing a Christmas novel has long been a dream of mine and finally last year I did it. There were some surprises along the way, like the dead body at the holiday party. But I cracked on, as my British friend Ali would say, and Blue Lake Christmas turned into Blue Lake Christmas Mystery.

This is the first time my publisher has positioned one of my books in their mystery imprint, which is kind of thrilling as I love reading mysteries as much as Christmas stories. And that’s my advice to anyone who wants to write a book: ask yourself what you love to read, and then write a book like that. Otherwise, it won’t be half the fun.

fullsizeoutput_1820Tomorrow, in a bit of serendipity that feels like a Christmas blessing, I’ll be at a book signing…at a holiday art and craft fair. I could not have planned it better if I had worked for a year to organize such a happening. I did plan to be at the event, but I had no idea my book would be released in time for the fair.

In another sort of holiday miracle, here I am again after four months of writing my “last post.” :))¬†Not saying I’m going to be writing every week again, but I do have some pretty exciting adventures ahead in 2017 and I’ve been thinking they’d be fun to blog about.

I’ll be in my new house in Florida for the winter months. Al will join me in January for a few weeks, but then he has to come back to Michigan to work. So I will be on my own entirely until he returns in March. We have only ever been apart for a few days in our 31 years of marriage, so it will be quite a challenge. I rely on him for so much. As he relies on me. So each of us will have to manage on our own for those winter months.

My idea is to write about the highs and lows of that journey, so watch this space.

Meanwhile, happy holidays.